The Good Doctor Reminisces On College Basketball's Glory Days


By Dr. Jeff A. Glenn / @jagadelic

Has watching college hoops for the last two or three years given you the feeling that you're drinking 3.2 beer instead of your favorite draft? Or you reserved a midsize at the car rental agency but got stuck with a Mazda 323? I'm sorry, but the product were being served today is like a cake from the store. It'll do, but it's nothing like Mom used to make.

I guess I'm spoiled. I was 12 in '79 when I watched Magic and Bird play in what is still the highest-rated college basketball game of all-time. I miss the '80's, when nearly everyone stayed at least three years. UNC had Jordan, Worthy and Perkins. They had to deal with Ewing from Georgetown and Akeem from Phi Slamma Jamma.

I miss the Glide, the Dream, Dr. Dunkensten, the Round Mound of Rebound, Run TMC, Big Country and Never Nervous. Today's players don't stay long enough to get a decent nickname. Anthony Davis, the Unibrow? Ugh.

I miss The ACC tourney. Not today's version which decides who's a 1 and who's a 3. The NCAA Tourney used to have 16 teams. Only conference champions were accepted. David Thompson of NC State, Len Elmore of Maryland and Dean Smith's boys had to fight to the death for the bid.

The '90's were just as good with LJ and the Shark at UNLV, Grant and Christian at Duke, Nolan and 40 Minutes of Hell, Shaq and the Fab Five. Is there any doubt that any of those 80's or 90's teams would whip today's squads like they stole something? Walton's legendary UCLA squad won 88 straight until Notre Dame and Adrian Dantley took them down. Today's #1 teams lose before the press release comes out.

The last great college team was the back-to-back '06-'07 Champion Florida squads that featured Noah, Harford and Brewer. Hope you enjoyed them because no one stays to defend a title anymore.

What do I propose to fix this problem? Absolutely nothing. I'm against any plan that forces someone to attend college when he'd rather try to earn a living. The toothpaste can't be put back in the tube. Some folks prefer the parity and uncertainty. I enjoyed watching the giants hone their craft.

9 Replies to “The Good Doctor Reminisces On College Basketball's Glory Days”

  1. Add in the rapid, rampant conference realignments screwing up rivalries as well on top of what you mentioned, and it's almost like a whole new ballgame. Definitely not as familiar or as entertaining, but that's the way it is.

      1. I just saw the Ohio State - Indiana game and enjoyed it thoroughly. Zeller and Thomas are very good players, but c'mon. The teams I grew up watching would have mopped the floor with these guys.

  2. That's a whole other post entirely, Rev. College football realignment has totally screwed up college basketball.

    I feel a little like I'm contradicting myself. I loved college basketball back when players stayed long enough to be true superstars. However, I am 100% against the current schemes to force players to attend college. Any man has a right to eschew college and earn a living if he wants to take that route.

    1. I'm actually with you on both counts. It's definitely not as good as it was when kids stayed and had cohesion and developed their games. But I don't think people should be forced to go to college if they're ready to be making a living. Definitely a conundrum.

  3. This is exactly what I have been telling folks. The game is not what it used to be. When the players realized that they didn't have to stay in college long to get paid, the college basketball platform changed. I would have to disagree on the last great team though. That UNC team of Felton, McCants, May and others was pretty darn good. Produced a couple of good pros, but they were great college players. I get your point though. The college game is lacking now and it's sad because it used to be your last chance to see great players flourish in a real organized system with variety. I love the NBA but it is a different game. College basketball was awesome because you watched kids grow into men and learn to dominate the game.

  4. Yes, college hoops in the 80's and 90's was the undisputed truth. We'll never see it again. In my book, you need at least two Final Four runs to be considered one of the greats. Felton et al didn't return to defend their title. That's my point.

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